A guest post from Charlie Mas:
I have read the statement against Seattle Initiative 88 in the Primary Election Voter’s Guide. The Statement was written by Mayor Greg Nickels, and former Mayors Norman B. Rice and Charles Royer. They say that we should vote no on I-88 because it is the state’s job to fund education, because Seattle Public Schools are poor financial managers, and because it would create inequities for children.
The State constitution says that the state’s paramount duty is to make ample provision for education. That may be true, but the state hasn’t done its job. If your child was drowning in a pool and the lifeguard refused to take action, would you dive in and save your child yourself or refuse to do it because it is the lifeguard’s job? How long would you refuse to save your drowning child while you stood on the principle that it is the lifeguard’s job? Mayor Nickels would say that saving your child from drowning would be wrong because it would send the wrong message to the lifeguard. His suggestion puts turf wars ahead of the needs of children and reflects callousness almost beyond imagination.
Mayor Nickels apparently also want us to stop contributing to school fundraisers, stop passing school levies and stop passing the Families and Education levy for exactly the same reasons that we shouldn’t pass I-88. After all, it is the state’s job to fund education, and buying that wrapping paper, contributing to that auction, and voting for those levies all send a message to the state that we don’t need more money and it will hurt our chances of getting more.
Mayor Nickels also suggests that District leadership are incompentent financial managers and it is foolish for us to put more money into their hands. Wouldn't that also apply to the Family and Education levy, the E and O levy, and the capital levies? Will he be writing the statement in opposition to those in future voter guides?
Mayor Nickels is also very concerned about educational equity and social justice that provides low-income children with equal access to education. At least he is concerned about children who live outside Seattle. He is concerned about the sanctity of the state’s strict education funding laws that provide equitable resources for all students across the state. Mayor Nickels must therefore strongly oppose school fundraisers since they create huge inequities. Some Seattle schools have annual PTA fundraisers that bring in six figures while other Seattle schools don’t even have PTAs. Where is his outrage over that inequity right here in his backyard? Where is his concern for equity for Seattle's children from low-income households?
If Mayor Nickels believes his own argument then he should be honest and open about his opposition to school levies, the Family and Education levy, and school fundraisers for all the same reasons that he opposes I-88 – or is his opposition to the initiative really because he is afraid that it threatens his turf and authority?